SHS hockey drops two games in Aspen tourney |

SHS hockey drops two games in Aspen tourney

Devon O'Neil

ASPEN – Losing its starting goalie just a week before the season opener certainly didn’t help the Summit High School hockey team.And it showed this weekend, as the Tigers gave up 10 goals in a pair of losses at the King of the Mountain Tournament in Aspen. Summit fell to Steamboat 5-2 on Friday, then dropped a heartbreaker in overtime to Battle Mountain on Saturday morning, 5-4.Junior Seth Wickham, who has started between the pipes for the Tigers since he was a freshman, is currently ineligible, SHS coach Bryan Smith said. He’s been away from the team for about a week.”I have no clue what’s going on with him, to be honest with you,” Smith said. “I don’t even know if he’s going to come back to the team.”With sophomore Nick Springer filling in, the Tigers fell behind 2-0 against Steamboat in the first period. But Jeff Montepare took a pass from Grant McGahey and buried a top-shelf wrister to halve the deficit, then Tommy Moles made it 2-2 on an assist from defenseman Jan McSparin, who rushed the puck the length of the ice.But that was all the Tigers would get against a stingy Sailors netminder. Steamboat capitalized on a couple of costly mental lapses by Summit, and scored three unanswered goals for the victory.”The scoreboard said 5-2, but that was a very close game,” the SHS coach Smith said, opining that his team controlled the game for most of the game despite the three-goal deficit.In Saturday’s game against Battle Mountain – last year’s state runner-up – the Tigers did the opposite of Friday: they came out strong. With goals from Alex Edwards, Alex Gutierrez and Chase Underbrink, Summit took a 3-1 lead in the opening period. Then disaster struck. Battle Mountain scored three goals in three minutes late in the second period, and the huge upset suddenly became a game again.”We were all over ’em after one, but we just didn’t play the second period,” Smith said. “I’ve been telling these kids if we play three periods, we’ll be able to play with anybody in the state.”Gutierrez, the sensational freshman forward, wasn’t about to concede the loss, though. He shelfed a shot to tie it at 4, on senior blue-liner Billy Barto’s second assist of the game.Alas, a Battle Mountain power-play slapper from just inside the blue line ended it shortly into the overtime period, sending Summit home 0-2.”Tough way to lose,” Smith said. “Very emotional game. But again, if this team plays three periods of hockey, they’ll be a fun team to watch.”The Tigers open their season at home Friday night at 5:30 against Pueblo. Devon O’Neil can be contacted at (970) 668-3998, ext. 13630, or at